Someone once told me that there would come a moment in my life when I'd look up and see a sky full of balls storming my way. And despite how badly I'd want to catch each ball, it would be impossible to avoid some from falling. So I'd have to stop for a moment, look up, and think of the ball that is most important to me; that's the one I'd have to catch first.
Once I've caught it, I can catch the next, and the next, and the next, but it's important to understand that I can't catch them all, and I have to accept that there will be balls that fall on the way. So all I can do from such an experience is learn to throw only the balls I know I can catch.
About a week ago, I felt as though there were so many balls in the air that I was going to drop them all. Soccer and OAE were two of the biggest balls storming my way.
On the one hand, OAE has been an experience where I've explored myself, explored my fears, talents, and my limitations. Having no electronics, no showers, no sinks, no bathrooms, and eating packed meals for four days was definitely a challenge, but a challenge that taught me how little we really need to survive.
Soccer, on the other hand, is a sport that I've played for the past seven years and is therefore a big part of my life. One of our biggest anual tournaments--SAAC--is the week after our last trip to OAE. And although I would love to attend both the trip and the tournament, I felt as though if I did I was going to be completely overwhelmed with missed school work, and thus, distracted from the tournament.
So I had to pick one ball to catch.
I caught SAAC, and trust me, it wasn't easy. I doubted my decision hundreds of times, but I learned that when I don't know what ball to catch, I need to stop for a moment, put other people's opinion aside and listen to what my heart and mind are telling me.
This experience taught me the importance of committing only to what I know I can handle. Because let me ask you one thing: would you rather be remembered as the girl that did a hundred things poorly, or the girl that devoted her mind, heart, and sole to succeed in a few activities?
I want to be remembered as the second girl. I want to leave a dent in my community, but I want to do it by dedicating myself and my time to pursue the things I truly believe in. I can't do it all, but I can do something. So the key now is choosing between the things in my life that I can and want to do.
Our opportunity to do an internship or an independent project is right around the corner. And although I think it would be an amazing experience to learn from someone else or from a company for a month, I don't want to leave my marketing project aside! So I decided that instead of doing an internship, I was going to use my marketing project as an independent project.
My goal by the end of the semester is for my business to have a force of supply that can sustain any force of demand. After talking to my dad for some guidance, I realized that the project was a lot harder than what I thought it would be. In a summarized version, I have to find the formula for each recipe, which entails finding the exact cooking time, time of production, quantity yielded, and quantity of each ingredient in grams. I also have to find options for partners and contact them, find the exact cost of producing each recipe, compare the cost I came up with to the cost offered by the various companies, come to an agreement on the price of production, and sign a confidentiality contract.
What scares me about this entire process is the fact that I am trusting other companies with my recipes. Once the recipe is out there, it's out there for good. And something my mom told me a few days ago was that in business almost everything is about the money.
So how am I suppose to trust anyone's intentions?
Although I completely understand where my mom is coming from, I, on the other hand, believe that if I want to see my business grow, I need to be willing to trust others, especially the companies I plan to work with. I can't expect to get anywhere without giving something up, and in my case, this means trusting others with my recipe. Yes, business is about the money for the most part, but it is also about trusting others intentions. And trusting that their intentions are neither good or bad, they're intentions are simply to make business.
THE CUPCAKE FACTORY
Ever since my cupcake business began to grow, it's become more and more difficult for me to keep up with orders, finish my school work, dance flamenco, play soccer, and to a certain extent, have a normal teenage life.
The problem with saying no to my customers is that I loose company value. My customers shouldn't have to wait a week before being able to place an order, they should place the order whenever they want and receive the cupcakes on the day they want. In the business world, everything revolves around the customer.
In my business, however, everything revolves around the producer.
I wanted to change that, and I felt as though our marketing unit was the perfect way for me to do so.
Looking at the situation realistically, if I want my force of supply to equal my force of demand, I have to expand and find PARTNERSHIP. I need to find a restaurant or company that is willing to produce the cupcakes for me. By doing so, rather than being in charge of the managing, financing, and production of my business, I would simply be in charge of the managing and financing.
So together with Andrea, we decided that for our marketing project we were going to focus on finding that partnership. And once the business's production was running on its own, we were going to focus on the marketing aspect of the business. We felt as though The Cupcake Factory already has a great PRODUCT, now, it's just a matter of turning it into a great BRAND.
Nonetheless, we didn't feel as though this "great brand" could be marketed until the business reached a point were it could accept any supply shock. Otherwise, I'd risk loosing company value.
I am really excited to finally get this project on board because it's something that I've always wanted to do but had never found the way or time to do so. I'm not exactly sure how to find a partner, and I'm not exactly sure what they will ask from me, but I am sure that this project will be an amazing learning experience for me. I know it will be hard, but with hard work comes great reward.
70% of learning happens through experience and practice. 20% happens through other people, conversations, and networks. And 10% happens formally.
So why do so many schools fall under that 10% margin?
If you think about it, most marketing units taught at schools consist on showing students sample ads to analyze. But what if students were given the opportunity to analyze the ads that were in their environment? What if they learned through experience rather than through a video, a picture, or a textbook?
Today during class we went to Jockey Plaza to analyze ads, and I was able to realize how many of the ads out there do not market their product effectively. They are either too small, too wordy, too colorful, or plain boring.
However, Adidas's newest add for their shoe "Springblade" was very effective. The combination of the adds location, together with the choice of colors, the huge model of the shoe, and shoe's display
Nonetheless, what most impacted me from today's visit was the way the same or similar products were being promoted. The only difference was the way they were being promoted or the store they were being promoted by.
This made me realize how we live in a world of extreme consumerisms. We are encouraged to buy, buy, buy, and buy. Why? Because businesses create a need for their products. Their job is to convince us that we can't live without their newest Louis Vitton purse, despite already owning a blue and a red one.
For example, why is it that girls don't wear a dress more than once to a party? Why do they own more than four pairs of heels? Why doesn't orange match with purple? Or brown match with pink?
It's not that the colors don't match, it's simply that society has set a norm that we feel we must follow in order to fit in. The key to breaking this norm is to find the balance between needs and desires. It's to recognize that despite our age or gender, we will always be a "target audience", because no matter where we are in the world, there will always be someone trying to convince us that we need more than what we already have, when in fact, we simply desire more.
Tell me a better way to finalize a finance project than to invest 3000 dollars on the stock market! After weeks of researching, analyzing stocks, and evaluating companies, we made a socially responsible investment on Starbucks, Cisco, First Solar, Cummins, and General Electric.
We not only D I V E R S I F I E D our customers portfolio by investing in companies from different market sectors, but we made sure that the chosen companies were either a great place to work, a company that fostered innovation or alternative energy, and a company that one could admire and respect. We invested SMARTLY and RESPONSIBLY!
#realworldprojects #handsonlearning #finance #innovation
For the first week of our finance unit I felt like a baby opening my eyes for the first time because everything was confusing to me. However, as the days went by, I began to understand certain concepts in the same way that a baby begins to understand his surroundings.
At times, I felt like I was being attacked by a swarm of financial terms. I learned that learning is not always easy. And instead of walking around the challenges that learning possesses, we must be willing to walk through them and learn from them.
Today, we wrapped up our finance unit with the presentations of our investment proposals! We had committed a lot of our time to develop our presentation and it was evident that we had a thorough understanding of the stocks we were investing in. We showed empathy for our client and addressed him directly, so it felt more like we were having a conversation with him than trying to sell him an idea. And I feel as though because we really believed in the stocks we were investing in, it was it easier for us to make our client believe in them as well.
Practicing my presentation beforehand would have made me less dependent on my notes and allowed me to express my thoughts more clearly and coherently. Also, finding more information regarding the future of my company would have allowed me to predict and decide whether investing in it at the moment was a good idea.
Nonetheless, I am extremely proud of Broker 1 and I feel as though our presentation was very successful! Our hard work definitely paid off!
If you had the time to do anything, what would you do?
For me, that would mean:
1. Sleeping more than 6 hours a night.
2. Growing my cupcake business.
3. Writing for the pure fun of it.
4. Spending more time with my family and friends.
5. Taking part in limitless amounts of community service.
If you take a moment to stop and think about your week, you'll realize that most of us follow a set schedule. From the life of a student, that would look something like this:
Wake up -> Eat breakfast -> Go to school -> Sports maybe? -> Home -> Homework -> Homework -> Homework -> Homework -> Sleep, maybe.
What I'm trying to say is that we spend so much of our lives doing homework and things that don't really matter to us, that we miss out on doing those things we truly love to do. Those things we are good at, those things that will probably end up taking us further than anything else in life.
Why do we do this?
I'm not sure. For me, I think it's my fear of letting other people down if I don't finish my work. It's my fear of getting low grades and not receiving financial aid to attend the college of my dreams. My fears are realistic but they shouldn't be what stop me from doing what I love.
If we had the time to do what we are truly passionate about we would be creating "beautiful" work. So why wait until we are retired to have the time? Why not have the time or at least make the time right now?
Today in class, we came to the agreement that for two weeks, instead of having homework that focused on content or projects, our homework was to pursue our passion. Why?
Because we don't want to wait until we are retired to create "beautiful" work, we want to create "beautiful" work today.